Originally built in 1927 and located in Death Valley National Park, the mission-style Inn at Death Valley celebrated its $100 million transformation with a grand reopening celebration in November 2018. The property, owned by Xanterra Travel Collection, features 66 updated rooms, a renovated fine dining restaurant and cocktail lounge, the new Tranquility Spa, and a spring-fed pool bordered by a new café and cabanas. Twenty-two one-bedroom casitas have been added along with Mission Gardens, a prime location for outdoor events.

The Inn’s family-friendly sister property, The Ranch at Death Valley, underwent a transformation of its own with the addition of a mission-style town square, complete with a courtyard with a welcoming reception area. Another new feature is a central hub for entertainment and socialization featuring a retail store, ice cream counter and Western saloon.

Located next to The Ranch, the 18-hole Furnace Creek Golf Course at Death Valley (the world’s lowest golf course at -214 feet) also underwent a massive renovation primarily focused on water conservation and the transition of 15 acres of maintained turf to desert with native plantings that use little water. Non-chlorinated water from the two properties’ two spring-fed pools is used to irrigate landscaping and the golf course.

Recently, I wrote about Santa Fe, New Mexico’s new Sky Railway, which made me think about all the train tie-ins for groups in the U.S. Mountain West and western Canada. Several tourist trains offer special events that groups can tag onto and allow private rental of train cars, and there are venues and museums that celebrate the railroad’s front-and-center place in the development of the West.

 

As travel comes returns in many parts of the world, Forbes Travel Guide unveiled its 2022 Star Award winners on April 26, 2022. The United States debuted 10 hotels, three restaurants and seven spas on the Five-Star list. In U.S. Mountain West towns with peaks, 12 hotels, one restaurant, and six spas landed a Five-Star nod. 

 

The slopeside Viewline Resort Snowmass has reopened in the heart of Snowmass Village after a $40 million refresh. Previously known as The Westin Snowmass, this prominent property for meetings and events was purchased in December 2020 and has relaunched with a new name, elevated interior and exterior, and enhanced culinary offerings and guest programming.